ARTINFO ARTISTS

Emmanuel Santos (b. 1957)

Emmanuel Santos

 

 

 

 

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 Biography

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1957           Born in Philippines

Emmanuel Santos began his photographic career working for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees as a photo essayist specialising in areas of ethnology, spirituality and social documentary. In 1982 he migrated to Melbourne and is now a renown photographic figure. He took a particular cultural interest in the Jewish community in Melbourne and across the globe.  His impassioned ability to mirror their spiritual and cultural worlds through photography has earned him their eternal respect and acclaim. He has undertaken extensive travels around the world documenting Jewish Life, from Orthodox inner circles to contemporary cosmopolitan Jews.

He has exhibited work documenting Jewish Life, including his renowned ‘Observances’ collection, in a myriad of places such as the Chernivtsi, Ukraine, Sao Paolo & Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Jerusalem, Israel, as well as both Span Galleries & the Jewish Museum of Australia in Melbourne.

Santos’ universality and humanitarian approach to life has earned him the trust of other community groups including a particular Indigenous community in Cape York, Queensland, the Aurukun people. In 1993 he had the rare and intimate privilege to be invited to witness and capture on film a sacred ceremony in the community.

This unique and vivid glimpse into the Aurukun community, entitled ‘Sacred Dance Series’,  has also been exhibited widely across the world. In France it was shown at Salle Jean Despas, Place des Lices in Saint Tropez, the Australian Embassy in Paris & at the Cannes Film Festival. It has also been shown at the Museum of Art in Belgium, as well as Obscura Gallery & the Alliance Francaise in Melbourne.

All cultures, all regions and all people are of interest to Santos and form the impetuous for his life’s work. His most acclaimed photographic series to date, ‘The Passing of Light’,  is a continuous project that was developed through years of study into ancient and sacred texts, such as the Book of Illuminations.

In ‘The Passing of Light’, Santos retells the narratives of the angels in these texts. Through his extensive travel, he is able to situate his angels in the most extraordinary backdrops, sometimes recreating the past, sometimes bringing his angels into the present.

Santos has exhibited this collection at Monash Gallery of Art  and Obscura Gallery in Melbourne, Silverlens Gallery in Manila, and has just completed a traveling tour of the works in Beijing, Basel, Manila, Milan and Prague. An entire edition of this series, which so far consist of 38 works, also sold in full at Christie’s Auction House, Hong Kong, setting the record for Philippine contemporary photography and Southeast Asian photography.

Galleries and institutions world wide have sort to hold his work in their permanent collections. These include Museum of Art, Ukraine, Musee d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme  & Bibliotheque Nationale de France, France, Diaspora Museum,  Israel, Orthodox Union, New York,  Jewish Museum of Australia, State Library of Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria,  Victorian Arts Centre, Immigration Museum  & The Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, as well as both the National Library of Australia & the Parliament House permanent Art Collection, Canberra.

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